Question: I’m a little confused here. You have said repeatedly in this lecture and in other lectures, and in your books, that we haven’t the slightest clue how life began. In fact, Christian de Duve himself has stated explicitly that we have no idea how life began. How, then, can he declare that “life is a cosmic imperative?” There is no scientific evidence for that declaration.
Answer: Yes, you are correct. However, de Duve and many others like him feel that the odds of life’s starting by chance are so outrageously improbable that it would be irrational even to consider such a possibility. What makes the problem even more difficult is that life would be absurdly improbable even if the time available were the entire 14.5 billion years from the Big Bang. But when you consider that the window of time actually available in between when the Earth cooled down enough to allow life and when we find evidence of the first living bacteria, is an incredibly short period; then the only possibility left is that life happens very quickly under the right conditions. As renowned paleontologist Stephen J. Gould put it: “Life on Earth evolved quickly and is as old as it could be. This fact alone seems to indicate inevitability, or at least, predictability, for life’s origin from the original chemical constituents of atmosphere and ocean.” Dr. de Duve enthusiastically agrees with that conclusion. Hence: “Life is a cosmic imperative.”
Question: But you’ve already stated that there is no scientific evidence that “life is a cosmic imperative.” No one has the slightest idea how it happened, and no one even knows if it happened through a naturalistic process. Doesn’t that mean that there is nothing scientific at all about that statement? How can you even mention it in a lecture about “science?” More.
Davies can talk this way because no one has any idea how life got started and almost his entire field exists in order to market naturalist atheism— among themselves and to the public. If taxpayers want to fund it, that’s their choice but it is, after all, public funding for a specific religious perspective, urged exclusively against all others.
See also: Rabbi Moshe Averick divides naturalist morality by zero And gets anything, everything, and nothing as a result.
What we know and don’t know about the origin of life
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